Pioneer Tribute Modules Preferred to Eurorack Size

April 14, 2014 in Exclusively Analogue, The Aviator, The Pioneer

We recently had the pleasure of delivering a Pioneer “Tribute” system to the studio of Steve Everitt, an accomplished professional composer and musician. Steve has been a regular contributor to ‘Eat Static’ – an eclectic electronic band headed by Merv Pepler. Taking along another Pioneer “Tribute” system and combining it with Steve’s Aviator meant there was a total of 5 complete Exclusively Analogue synth lines.

Tony commented – “Whilst I have the technical ability to produce the equipment, I sadly lack the musical talent to be able to produce anything remotely appealing. In contrast Steve has talent by the bucket load, which was proven within the first 30 minutes of my being there when he added a sound from his new Pioneer system into a beautiful piano led piece he was working on. The piece already had Steve’s Aviator in the mix and the end result was a magical combination of traditional instruments; Steinway piano, orchestral strings and various electronic ‘textures’ to produce the final result.”

The rest of the day was spent experimenting with the two modular systems and creating a variety of interesting sounds which, even in fairly simple sequences, sounded good. Seeing and hearing the equipment being used by a professional was a very rewarding experience.

Two Pioneer Tribute modulars in action - Exclusively Analogue

Merv Pepler joined later in the day, primarily so he could see the two Tribute systems together. Merv was very familiar with the Aviator, having recorded Steve’s on a number of albums in the past and as a result is considering, like Steve, stepping into the modular world. Merv was definitely impressed with the Tribute system and it is likely that he will have the very last system as well as one of the last Aviators. Interestingly, both Steve and Merv have been considering adding some of the more popular ‘Eurorack’ size modules to their collection however both seemed to prefer the larger format of the Emu design.

The advantage of the Eurorack equipment is that you can cram a lot into a small space which is ideally suited to the ‘bedroom musicians’. Lots of people spend time on modulars creating new and interesting sounds and Steve made the comment that he was concerned he would spend too much time ‘wiggling’ and not making music. With Steve and Merv I know that any analogue equipment they have will be used to create music which is, after all, what any musical instrument is for – not solely as a piece of furniture.

Two Emu Modulars In Use – The Analogue Monster

February 18, 2014 in Exclusively Analogue, The Pioneer

At the end of 2013 Tony decided to build a special 24″ by 24″ “Square” Pioneer ‘Tribute’ system similar to the original Emu modular that he had in 1994. The modules have been built into a Maple wood cabinet and have been set up as two complete synthesizer lines including 5 VCOs, 3 different Voltage Controlled Filters, 2 Dual Transient Generators, 2 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers plus a few other useful modules. The picture below shows two modular systems together.

2 EMU Tribute Modulars - Exclusively Analogue

The two systems provide 4 separate analogue synth lines controlled by various Kenton MIDI/CV convertors. Using the MIDI files of some well-known pieces of music Tony had the basis to experiment with different sounds. As an example, he used 1 line for the bass, 2 lines as sequences and the final line as a lead with an added drum track from a MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro, running Logic Pro, was also able to control everything via a MIDI interface.

So what sort of sounds can be created with 2 Emu Modulars? Well just about any classic analogue sound because both systems have Universal Active Filters and MultiMode filters to compliment the usual 24dB Low Pass Filter meaning the more interesting High Pass Filter ‘buzzy’ sounds are available. Tony is a fan of a slow sweeping HPF with resonance as an effect if you can get the slow sweep to work in time with the music. Another nice effect is having the filter frequency shift in time with the music to create a rhythmic pattern similar to adding an accent on certain notes, say every 4th note in a 1/16th note sequence. He’s done this previously using analogue sequencers but in this latest set up I used the aux outputs from the Kenton interfaces to provide the additional voltage to change the Filter cutoff.

The original plan was that the new “Square” system would be sold and it has therefore been advertised on eBay. However, like every one of the Tribute systems built so far, this one has been ‘lovingly’ hand crafted to a very high standard and as a result is one of a kind. If you are interested in purchasing this system for your studio or setup please get in touch.

More Pioneer Tribute Soundbytes

May 31, 2012 in The Pioneer

While being busy at work and building the Pioneer “Tribute” systems a small window presented itself to record some more soundbytes. Available via the Exclusively Analogue soundcloud profile you can also listen to them below. In the future we will be looking to host more of these on Soundcloud and ensure we have a central store people can refer to in order to hear what the various Exclusively Analogue systems are like.

Paying Tribute, Chance Meetings And A Salute To Longevity

May 21, 2012 in Exclusively Analogue

I was sad to hear of the death of Donna Summer recently. I still think that her “I Feel Love” song, with the powerful and instantly recognisable Gorgio Moroder synth bass sequence, will remain one of the icons of the synth era. As a tribute to her I am in the process of recreating that iconic sound on the Pioneer ‘Tribute’ system and I will endeavour to put the results on here later.

It’s also a very small, and strange, world we live in and at the weekend I had one of those experiences that demonstrated how fate has a way of conspiring to make things happen. I attended a dinner in Oxford on Saturday and ended up sitting next to someone who it turned out was connected with the music industry. After lengthy conversations I discovered that both her and her brother knew various people that I did and that her company, Timespace, had lots of clients who might be interested in the uniqueness of the Exclusively Analogue products. Time will tell whether anything comes of this but I was taken aback at how this chance meeting at a totally non musically connected dinner happened!

It is perhaps worth re-iterating that Exclusively Analogue has always focused on producing unique and exclusive products in limited numbers. As an example I have just been asked to custom build two ‘Aviators’ which will be very unique. To demonstrate this uniqueness both will have “Custom Built for _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _” on the front panel.

On the subject of Aviators, a studio in Sweden has sent their Aviator, number 9, back to me for an overhaul. It has been in constant use for almost 18 years and had a minor fault with the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) on one of the VCOs plus a couple of pots that were showing signs of wear. The PWM fault was traced to a faulty 45 pence diode! It was pleasing to note that everything else had remained fully functional. It’s always rewarding to see that my attention to quality in the past has paid off and that ethos will continue in the newer products like the Pioneer modular.

Pioneer “Tribute” Sound Test

April 15, 2012 in The Pioneer

As work continues on building the Pioneer “Tribute” systems and as a follow-up to the photos supplied in the last blog post here is a short sound test that was recently recorded. Apologies for the fuzzy ambient noise in the background, future recordings will hopefully have this reduced so the full capabilities of the system can be admired.

Photos of the Pioneer “Tribute”

April 4, 2012 in Exclusively Analogue, The Pioneer

As promised in the previous blog post we’ve now got some photos of a completed Pioneer “Tribute” system in the Oak cabinet. Take a look below to see the finished system and remember to get in touch if you’ve got any questions.

Here are a couple of closer images along with the newly designed back panel.